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August 29th, 2006

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01:04 am - I actually DO have this skill
Gakked from asa_brarian:

You are 'Gregg shorthand'. Originally designed to enable people to write faster, it is also very useful for writing things which one does not want other people to read, inasmuch as almost no one knows shorthand any more.You know how important it is to do things efficiently and on time. You also value your privacy, and (unlike some people) you do not pretend to be friends with just everyone; that would be ridiculous. When you do make friends, you take them seriously, and faithfully keep what they confide in you to yourself. Unfortunately, the work which you do (which is very important, of course) sometimes keeps you away from social activities, and you are often lonely. Your problem is that Gregg shorthand has been obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?

I learned Gregg shorthand when I was in high school since all the girls had to learn secretarial skills back then. I used it a lot for taking notes in college and typing was useful too there, so maybe the nuns weren't being as sexist as they might have seemed to be.

I still use it too, especially when I'm writing a reminder note for myself or directions to a location. It's a lot easier to write the Gregg for "between" than even an abbreviation of it in longhand.

Given the use of computerized voice-transcription programs like Dragon Naturally Speaking, I wonder if soon anyone under a certain age will know Gregg.
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: "Moderne Zeiten" by Unheilig

(12 seeds eaten | Eat a pomegranate)


[User Picture]
Date:August 29th, 2006 12:39 pm (UTC)
Hmm ... I always wanted to learn how to use shorthand but never did. It seemed like a cool thing to do, but meh. Somehow I developed my own personal system of abbreviations for class notes instead ... you know, "tx" means "transcription" and such. Nothing that isn't really commonly used and you could probably go faster in short-hand... at this point I guess I'm just too lazy to learn it, or don't have enough reasons to do it.
Don't know anyone my age or under who can write it, though. Hmm ... perhaps someone will start a movement to keep shorthand from perishing, sort of like Gaelic.
*looks around for somewhere to sign up to learn Gaelic*
[User Picture]
Date:August 29th, 2006 09:11 pm (UTC)
looks around for somewhere to sign up to learn Gaelic

I learned Gaelic at the Irish Arts Center in Manhattan years ago. Since you are currently in Boston, I'm sure there is an equivalent institution there, given the large Irish-American population in that area. Some of the colleges and universities by you may have an Irish Studies program where you can learn the language also.

It's a tricky language to learn, though -- just thought I'd warn you of that ahead of time.

[User Picture]
Date:August 29th, 2006 09:20 pm (UTC)
It would be so convenient if my life worked that way ... I could have visited Mexico when I lived in Texas and could learn Gaelic while living in Boston. As much fun as it would be, I've got languages higher on the list of priority - like German, I really want to learn German - and the "learn languages" entry is pretty low on the to-do list itself. *sulk* ... stupid 24-hour day ...
[User Picture]
Date:August 30th, 2006 08:00 am (UTC)
Well, as you may have realized by now, I speak German, fairly fluently.

One of the things I've found helpful is listening to music sung in the language. I don't know how your particular musical tastes run, but I like to listen to Unheilig, Eisbrecher, Megaherz, Subway to Sally, In Extremo and also Rammstein (but there mostly the more recent songs, esp. from "Rosenrot") -- hearing the songs over and over helps to cement the vocabulary into my head. I also post on some of the forums attached to the bands' official websites, which helps me practice writing the language and has gotten me new friends who were native speakers. Chatting in "Denglish" is a great way to better your language skills!!

I also enjoy reading Harry Potter fanfiction in German -- it's more fun to read something you enjoy rather than textbook stuff. I'm a member of zuckerfederkiel and heulende_huette, so you might want to visit or join those communites for the deutschsprechende porn stories.

Another easy way to absorb German is through the Nichtlustig cartoon -- there's an LJ feed too (de_nichtlustig), but it updates only when a new cartoon gets posted on the site, which hasn't happened for quite a few weeks at this point.

If you want some good links for online dictionaries and other German-learning resources, let me know and I'll give you the URLs.

[User Picture]
Date:August 30th, 2006 09:55 pm (UTC)
If it wouldn't be too much trouble ... I feel like such a pest. :( Two of the boys in the lab have gone off to Germany for post-docs though, and well ... on the off-chance that there's a visit there in my future I'd like to be able to at least stammer through some basic conversations.

Right, so what I was meaning to say this morning and not being very coherent about ... was that if you're trying to build a character's voice in a story, you really don't need to go all out with the accent, right? I mean, if you hit the reader with a few well-chosen words in the very beginning, they start to supply the accent in their own head afterwards and you don't need to make every bloody word incomprehensible. For example, if I wanted to write Fleur, or anyone who was French, I'd start out at the beginning with something obvious, like 'Ogwarts or 'Ello, or so on, but if you continue in that vein and write every word phoenetically the way a French person with a heavy accent speaks English, it gets really annoying because you have to focus on what the dialog actually *says* before you can figure out what the character actually means.

Add to that the complete inability of a lot of fic-writers to pull off Hagrid's or Minerva's accent, and then my finger is sore from clicking the "Back" button.
[User Picture]
Date:August 31st, 2006 08:29 pm (UTC)
On accents:

Much of my reply to your prior comment could be repeated here. Most accents are not very heavy and are difficult to transcribe well, since the vowel variations that underly most cannot be adequately conveyed in written form using standard English -- phonetic symbols would be needed. Minerva, being well-educated and a professor herself, is unlikely to have a strong burr -- something most fic writers seem to be oblivious to. Much of Hagrid's accent turns more on his word choice and word order than pronunciation inherently, another thing many fic writers don't pay much attention to. Diction is important too!

Something more difficult to capture is the "melody" of an accent -- Hagrid's is different from Harry's which is different from Seamus' or Minerva's. Were there any Welshmen at Hogwarts, the melody factor would be even more in evidence as being important, since much of that accent is conveyed by the almost sing-song way it is spoken. (The closest American equivalents I can think of are the American Indian accent out West and the North Dakota accent, as used by some of the characters in the movie "Fargo" -- just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about here.) Something like that is not easy to put into written form.

If it wouldn't be too much trouble ... I feel like such a pest.

We'll keep you anyway. :)

Deutsche Welle has online lessons in German you might like. Click on the "German courses" link in the list on the left.

Babelfish translator for German Yahoo -- not as good as the Babylon translator they used to have, which rocked but seems to no longer be easy to access online -- that link is for the word "geben" which I used to get me into it from my old module on Mein Yahoo. Once you're into the site, just type in another word. (I love this dictionary!)

Go download the Babylon program -- it's great!!!! You can try an online version here that does the translation in a popup -- not as nice as the old Yahoo one above, but not too bad either. TravLang's dictionary is a mirror of LEO, but will be easier for you to use since it's in English, unlike much of the LEO site. (The URL for the English version of LEO varies over time -- just click on "English version" on the main LEO site in German to get to the current URL for it.) BTW, LEO tends towards British usage and can give some odd results. Babylon is better, IMNSHO.

There are several German grammars to choose from here -- see which you prefer.

Alles gutes für Deutsch zu lernen!

[User Picture]
Date:August 31st, 2006 10:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you! You're such a darling! Heh, I can't wait until I can insult one of my labmates in his native tongue ... though I suppose I can pass the time by continuing to insult him in English ... life is hard, isn't it? :)

Hmm, I don't think I've seen "Fargo." Is it the one with the body and the woodchipper? I've been avoiding that one on principle ... I try not to watch the films that people try to gross me out by describing.

I'll just sit around and wait patiently for a hint of an East Coast accent to develop. Sheesh, I know I'm pathetic but anything, just *anything* would be better than the boring bland Midwestern I speak now. Meh. It would probably help if I ever spoke with people who are actually native to Boston ... on second thought, I don't think I know any... :(
[User Picture]
Date:September 1st, 2006 04:27 am (UTC)
You're welcome -- and yes, that is the movie.

[User Picture]
Date:August 29th, 2006 10:20 pm (UTC)
what would you say is the easiest way to learn shorthand?

i purchased two 'antiquated' handbooks and one dictionary from the internet about a few years ago, but since they were meant to go along with a course in school, i couldn't really make any progress. this disappointed me greatly.

do you have any suggestions? or better yet - any websites? or does having a website devoted to learning the art of shorthand sort of miss the mark?

[User Picture]
Date:August 30th, 2006 04:44 am (UTC)
i have the same question.
[User Picture]
Date:August 30th, 2006 07:33 am (UTC)
See my reply to the question in this comment.

[User Picture]
Date:August 30th, 2006 07:30 am (UTC)
I don't know of any websites for it offhand, although they may well exist.

I learned from a textbook with practice in class and from special records of business letters being read aloud at a particular speed. Shorthand is a skill that must be practiced -- the more you do it, the easer and quicker it will go for you.

Once you know the basics of the "squiggles" the rest is easy. Just make a habit of using it when writing notes to yourself or slip it into notes you take for class in longhand, at least for the easy common Gregg combinations like "between" or "to do" or "be" and if you do it consistantly, it will eventually become second nature. You can also practice taking Gregg from news reports on radio or TV or from watching a talk show or reality TV.

Hope the above helps! :)


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